Adam Peaty On Loving the Challenge, Water Baby George And Ending A Chapter In His Life

Jul 26, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Adam Peaty (GBR) celebrates after winning the men's 100m breaststroke final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Peaty: Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

Adam Peaty On Loving the Challenge, Water Baby George And Ending A Chapter In His Life

Adam Peaty says 2021 signals the end of a period in his own history that has brought Olympic titles in the pool and fatherhood which has transformed his life beyond the water.

Peaty became the first Briton to retain an Olympic swimming title when he won the 100m breaststroke in Tokyo, five years after gold in Rio.

That followed more history at the European Championships in Budapest in May when he became the first athlete to win four titles at four straight editions – the quadruple quadruple.

The eight-time world champion also won gold with the mixed medley relay and silver as part of the men’s medley quartet.

The 26-year-old, who is coached by Mel Marshall at Loughborough National Training Centre, then announced his intention to take some time out of the water in light of the fact he intends to continue competing until Los Angeles 2028.

Instead, he competed in BBC TV’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ with professional dance partner Katya Jones with the pair the sixth to be eliminated.

Speaking ahead of the Sports Personality of the Year award ceremony – in which he is on a six-strong shortlist, Peaty joked he would take his dancing shoes to next month’s training camp in Florida “and do a bit of salsa if I can on a Saturday”.

But he also said finishing the show signalled the conclusion of one stage of his life as he told double Olympic medallist Jazz Carlin and Andy Jameson – who won 100 fly bronze at Seoul 1988 – on’s coverage of the World Short-Course Championships in Abu Dhabi.

He said:

“I have been vulnerable, I’ve learned so much but I think that is the beauty of it.

“If you don’t do something that really challenges you and really makes you feel emotion, I don’t think you are alive!

“So, for me I was just going through that and yes, I had a minor cry – a very big cry actually – after I’d done it because that is closing a chapter for me.

“Closing that book on this part of my life from Olympics, the last five years going through Covid, having a baby, moving house – it just couldn’t be more.

“I can close that chapter now and really be happy. I am proud of myself.”

Peaty faces the World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships between May and August 2022 and he said:

“We have got to be proud of ourselves to really continue and let’s go to these triple championships and have a bit of a dance, have a bit of a laugh and hopefully win some races.

“I just enjoyed it: I lived it, I loved it and it is scary.

“Again it comes down to the challenge, I love the challenge and I’m so grateful for it.”

Staying Fresh And Setting New Goals

ADam Peaty 2021 Europeans

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Peaty will head out to the States for a three-week training camp with his Loughborough teammates next month.

Always with one eye on his competition, Peaty looked ahead, saying:

“I am always focusing – where I need to be, when I need to put my energy. In terms of training, I am already back in the water, I’m feeling good but really it starts in January and just building the fitness, building my base back up and enjoying it.”

On resetting goals, he added:

“I really believe if you are going hard, you’re going 10 sessions a week and five gym sessions as well, it’s a full-time job and unfortunately we don’t have much time for rest in the season.

“That is why I said to myself this year: I’m not going to race, I’m not going to do that – I’m going to let myself become hungry because I know that will serve me now like a dividend over the next seven years.

“If I’d continued and exhausted myself – it’s no joke that burnout is real and especially in swimming because it’s the same black line.

“I love racing, I love going out there but it’s all about keeping refreshed, keep enjoying it and it’s an absolute privilege to be able to race as well – especially in these times.

“I love competition so the faster the world gets hopefully the faster I get but I never want to take that away from anyone and huge congratulations who does so well out there (in Abu Dhabi).”

Aspirations For Water Baby George

Peaty became a father with partner Eiri Munro in September 2020 and Marshall recently posted film of him pushing son George down the Loughborough pool on a raft.

On George and the water, Peaty said:

“He loves it, loves it. He loves being outdoors, he loves the water, he loves doing everything.

“He can’t focus on anything for more than a minute unless it’s ‘Cocomelon’ (TV show) so it’s incredible.

“To be a parent – and parents out there will know – you just feel that special connection.

“You’ll do anything for them but you want to give them the world and the wisdom and I am excited.

“He loves the water and I am always asked would he be a swimmer and I’m like I don’t want to get up at 4am – I’ve done my time there – so I am going to try and push him towards tennis, golf, football – that kind of thing.”